The creative spark in the New American Asian cuisine at Ippin Mono Kitchen is down to one man: Chef Sylva Senat. Trained at New York City restaurants like Aquavit and Buddakan, the French-speaking Haitian native brings an upscale, international sensibility to the restaurant's menu of sushi, noodles, and fusion dishes. Citrus panko adds extra bite to a shared plate of beef short ribs, while fresh oysters from the raw bar pair with the delicate flavors of champagne-yuzu mignonette sauce.
In spite of its name, Cafe Chocolate embraces the spirit of a Korean karaoke bar instead of a French coffee shop . The eatery keeps the nightlife alive until as late as 2 a.m. throughout the week, encouraging patrons to belt out their favorite power ballads while sipping a drink by the bottle, pint, or pitcher . To accompany the spirits and spirited singing, Cafe Chocolate also features a menu of eclectic comfort foods. Dishes such as the kimchi-spiked fried rice and the seafood pancake are unquestionably borrowed from Korean cuisine. However, the chefs also prepare crispy, Japanese–style tonkatsu as well as classic bar foods, including buffalo wings and curly fries.
IndAroma's inventive chefs ferry flavors across culinary borders, regaling tongues with francophilicly enlivened Indian classics. The menu teems with curries, kebabs, naan pizzas, and succulent wraps, such as the marinated, tandoori-baked lamb kebab in cucumber sauce ($7.50), which provides the portable edibility of a laptop made of toffee. Rummage through the samosa chaat ($4.90), a treasure chest of chickpea curry, onions, mint, and spicy garlic-and-tamarind sauce or seek the comfort of boneless chicken biryani's flavorful warmth ($8.99). Petit fours and éclairs bask alongside a profusion of cakes each as sweet and unique as the fingerprint of an Oompa Loompa and served by the slice in flavors such as black forest, mango, and pistachio.
Taco Del Mar's bright tiki-bar ambience nicely matches the vibrant colors in the food. Try to one-hand the Mondo burrito with meat, beans, rice, sour cream, and pico de gallo ($5.89), or flatten out the situation with a cheese quesadilla ($3.69). Taking a break from the tortilla, Taco Del Mar offers food in its primal pile form with a burrito bowl ($5.89) and two cabbage-slawed, chipotle-sour-creamed tacos ($4.39). Dive into an edible Mexican cornucopia with the enchilada-taco combo platter ($7.99). Those seeking a bit of satisfaction can nab smaller "Mondito" burritos ($3.99) or a taco salad in a baked, rather than fried, shell ($5.99).
Though rooted in Korean culinary traditions, the dishes at Red Holic might feel familiar even to those foreign to that gustatory language. Seven types of kimbap—a translation of the maki roll—enfold everything from spicy squid to Spam within a soft blanket of white rice and sweetened radish. Similar to blood sausage, soondae encases noodles and veggies within pig intestine, toppoki dishes pair rice cake with egg or dumplings, and Holic meals frame sautéed beef or Korean-style pork as the centerpiece. As if the flavor profiles and colorful ingredient weren’t enough to entice the senses, Red Holic stays true to its name, surrounding guests in a crimson wonderland speckled with white-topped tables and solid black chairs. To fill the wall space, reliefs feature domestic themes, including clotheslines laden with pins and a watering can hanging over flowers, constantly suspended by the cooks’ telekinesis.
You may have to search a bit to find Joong Mi. Located on the basement level of a commercial building, it draws new patrons with its reputation, rather than with a fancy fa?ade. Once guests arrive, however, and find themselves surrounded by a haze of savory scents, they know they've found the antidote to their hunger. Korean noodles, soups, dumplings, and entrees enthrall all five senses. Bright vegetables and inky sauces juxtapose with an earth-toned dining room, and the specialty here is the combination bowl. It's served in a round, white dish striped with single dividing line, and includes a choice of two types of dishes?for example, sweet and sour pork on one side, and spicy seafood noodle soup in the other.